Groundwater is the single most important resource in the country. Meeting the demand of water for drinking and irrigation, its sustainability is increasingly being affected by unrestrained use of the resource. With groundwater levels, declining across the country, the National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme (NAMMP) has been specially designed to draw attention towards the management of groundwater. Its underlying focus is on ‘Groundwater Management’, a shift from the previous emphasis of ‘Groundwater Development’. Known as Participatory Groundwater Management, engagement of local communities in groundwater monitoring is a component of the recommended approach. Participatory Groundwater Monitoring has been successfully piloted through a programme titled ‘Water and Democracy’ in 2 groundwater overexploited villages of Karanja block, Washim district, Maharashtra with the support of Center for World Solidarity (CWS) and EED (Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst – Church Development). Here a groundwater monitoring network is established and Village Watershed Committees (VWSC) strengthened on Community based Groundwater Management.
An outcome of this project is the design and development of the Groundwater Monitoring Toolkit. Part of our policy dialogue efforts, we initiated training programmes on groundwater management, mainstreaming these trainings into scheduled trainings of the Integrated Watershed Development programme (IWMP). Further, we have supported the Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) in the implementation of Tier II Training programmes in Karnataka and Chhattisgarh (Ambikapur and Raigad) under the National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme (NAMMP). While, the primary target groups were Line Departments and Zilla Panchayats, the training was conducted on Participatory Groundwater Management.